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MAY 4, 2019

PHILIPPINE NEWS

Martial Law Victims Start Receiving Checks

MANILA, Philippines — Victims of human rights violations during the martial law period will start receiving $1,500 or around P78,000 today, May 1, 2019.

Former Commission on Human Rights chair Loretta Ann Rosales confirmed that the distribution of checks would begin in Butuan City for eligible claimants in the Caraga region.

Rosales is honorary chair of human rights group Claimants 1081, which will assist in the distribution for eligible claimants.

Claimants 1081 executive director Zenaida Mique said there are about 120 eligible claimants in the region.

“We expect them to get their checks (starting May 1) until noon of May 2,” Mique told The STAR.

On Facebook, Claimants 1081 said the distribution to eligible claimants in Region IX would be held in Pagadian City from May 14 to 17.

Meanwhile, those from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region and Region XII will be able to receive their checks during the distribution in Cotabato City on May 20 to 24 and 27 to 29, respectively.

The schedule for other areas has yet to be released.

The distribution will be the third for the estimated 6,500 eligible members of the successful $2-billion class suit filed against the Marcos family in Hawaii in the 1990s.

The money was sourced from the estimated $20 million worth of ill-gotten assets recovered from an aide of former first lady and Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos.

Last month, a federal judge in New York affirmed the settlement agreement that divided the assets, with $13.75 million going to members of the class suit.

The Philippine government was set to receive $4 million, with the remaining going to other claimants, including the Golden Buddha Corp. and the estate of Roger Roxas that allegedly discovered the fabled Yamashita treasure.

In an e-mail to The STAR last April 13, American human rights lawyer Robert Swift confirmed the $13.75 million has been transferred to the settlement fund created for the members of the Hawaii class suit.

Swift also confirmed US federal judge Manuel Real, who handled the Hawaii class suit, approved their request for $4.125 million in attorney’s fees to be deducted from the new settlement fund obtained for martial law victims.

The requested fee represents 30 percent of the $13.75-million settlement that the class would receive from the proceeds of the sale of paintings seized from Vilma Bautista, an aide of the former first lady

After initially engaging in negotiations on how to divide the money, the Philippine government in March tried to stop the implementation of the settlement agreement for supposedly being “grossly disadvantageous” to the government. (www.philstar.com)

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